Taiwan Church News
November 28 - December 4, 2016
A Centennial Memorial Service Held For Rev Dr William Shia
Reported by Simon Lin
In order to remember and appreciate the pioneering missionary and medical contributions of Rev Dr William Shia, honored as Taiwan's Schweitzer, and let more youth to learn about this loyal and faithful Christian forebear, a centennial memorial service was held at the International Conference Hall of Changhua Christian Hospital on 26 November, 2016.
Born in 1916 and raised up in a physician's family, Rev Dr William Shia nearly poured out all his money earned in his 28 years' medicine practice either for the church or for the poor. His most remembered sayings are thus, "Do not mistake medicine as math!", "The most happy thing for a doctor is not the money earned, but the utmost trust won from the patients!", and etc.
Spending all his life serving the poor and the sick, Rev Dr Wiiliam Shia always managed to reach the distant villages with the least medical resources, like the far-flung tribes in the mountainous Nantou county and the remote household in the coastal Changhua area. Caring for the aborigines and the deserted patients of polio and black foot disease, Rev Dr William Shia preached everywhere he practiced medicine till his last minute in life. It was indeed a tragedy, on his way rushing to cure his patient, Rev Dr Shia was unfortunately killed in a car accident in 1916.
There were many historical records created by Rev Dr William Shia in both Taiwan's medical history and missionary history. For example, Being persuaded by Missionary Lillian R Dickson, Rev Dr William Shia co-founded the Puli Christian Hospital and initiated Taiwan's first medical ministry for the aborigines; establishing the first tuberculosis sanatorium at Puli; working with Dr Wang Ching-ho to care for black foot disease patients free of charge at Beimen district of Tainan; setting up the first Christian hospital, Erhlin Christian Hospital, operated solely by the native Taiwanese at the Wu-I village in 1964.
In the thanksgiving centennial memorial service, Dr Chen Hen-chang, current Superintendent of Puli Christian Hospital, expressed that the life span of Rev Dr William Shia was limited, though, his missionary spirit would definitely go beyond his time and will carry on inspiring us and the future generations. Two church choirs from both the district assembly of the Sediq aborigines and the Rona Presbyterian Church of Central Bunun Presbytery were invited to sing their praise in this centennial memorial service.
Rev Zeng Yang-en, a professor of church history at Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, praised Rev Dr William Shia, honored as Taiwan's Schwitzer, though, as a true Christian living out the life of Christ in his medical vocation. In the early stage of 19th centuries' western missionaries in Taiwan, the missionary ministries were always done in a co-operative pair: one pastor matched with one medical doctor, observed Rev Zeng, but Rev Dr William Shia made a great reformation by combining evangelical ministry and medical service into one.
"Wearing black robe and white robe alternatively on himself", in order to serve the people of God, Rev Dr William Shia established an unprecedented model for a distinguished evangelical ministry in medicine for Taiwan, Rev Zeng affirmed.
Translated by Peter Wolfe
After the centennial memorial service, Dr Yang Chong-ing(center in front row), the widow of Rev Dr William Shia, took a photograph with the audience at the International Conference Hall of Changhua Christian Hospital on 26 November, 2016.
Photo by Simon Lin